Local authority: Northumberland County Council

Postcode of nearby property: NE61 5EQ

Site status: The planning application for Highthorn was submitted in October 2015.   You can view the documents online here.

In July 2016, Northumberland County Council Strategic Planning Committee were minded to approve the planning application pending a decision by the Secretary of State (SoS) for Communities and Local Government to decide whether to ‘call-in’ the application.

The SoS did ‘call-in’ the decision in September 2016 and there followed a Public Inquiry.

The Planning Inspector that lead the Public Inquiry recommended in his report to the SoS at the end of 2017, that planning permission should be granted, as on balance, “the national benefits of the proposal [ie the need for coal for the UK economy not least for steel and cement manufacture] would clearly outweigh the likely adverse impacts…”.

In March 2018 the then SoS, Rt Hon Sajid Javid MP, refused planning permission for Highthorn – going against the County Council’s Planning Committee’s decision and the Planning Inspector’s recommendation following the Public Inquiry.

In April 2018 Banks Mining challenged SoS Sajid Javid’s decision to reject its Highthorn surface mine planning application via a Judicial Review in the High Court.

Then in November 2018 the High Court quashed the SoS rejection decision, as there were serious errors in the legal basis on which the then SoS Sajid Javid, made his decision, and the case went back to the SoS for a fresh decision. Currently the case is with the current SoS, Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP.

To view the latest news on Highthorn, please click here.

Project summary: Highthorn surface mine is a unique opportunity to bring substantial investment to the Druridge Bay area and improve the lives of its people and wildlife for many years to come. We hope this website will inspire you to get more involved with the Highthorn project and play your part in creating something special for your area.

Need for coal: Coal is a valuable mineral resource which is used for a variety of purposes including iron and steel manufacture; cement manufacture; coke manufacture; domestic heat generation; food and beverage production; chemicals production; patent fuel manufacture (smokeless briquettes); carbon fibre products manufacture and other uses; as well as electricity generation. Over the last decade or so around 9 million tonnes per annum of coal has been needed in the UK for non-electricity generation purposes; demand for coal for electricity generation was 14.5 million tonnes in 2017. If we do not produce our own coal in the UK we simply import more from countries such as Russia, the USA, Colombia and Australia which produces more CO2 via its transportation than coal produced in the UK.

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